Hands played in Baccarat
Two hands played in Baccarat
the “player” hand and the “banker” hand. You can bet on either one. If the hand you bet on wins, you receive an even money (1:1) payoff. There is one other bet you can make the tie bet. If you make this bet and the two hands tie, you receive an 8:1 payoff. Ties, however, occur less than once out of every ten hands.
At the start, each hands receive 2 cards. When necessary, additional cards are drawn according to the rules. The hand closest to 9 wins.
10s, Jacks, Queens, and Kings all count as 0. The ace through 9 cards have face values of 1 to 9, respectively. To determine the value of each hand, you simply add the cards. If the total is over 10, the first digit is ignored. So an 8 and a 6 would normally equal 14, but since we disregard the first digit, we instead have a hand of 4. Similarly, a 6 and 4 would equal 0, and a 10 and 9 would equal 9.
If the first two cards total 9, the hand is called a “natural” and automatically wins. Two cards totaling 8 is also referred to as a natural, and it wins automatically too, unless the hand it is playing against has a natural as well. When both hands contain a natural, the higher natural hand wins (9 beating an 8). If the hands have equal value, it is a tie.
When neither hand has a natural, there is no automatic winner, and additional cards are drawn to determine the outcome of the hand.
The Player Hand
The player hand is played first, according to the following rules:
When the first two cards equal
the player must
6, 7, 8, or 9
Any other value
Draw one card
The player hand can never receive more than one additional card. The hand must stand after the third card, regardless of its value at that point.
The Banker Hand
The banker hand is a bit more complicated. How the banker hand gets played is usually determined by what the player hand’s third card is. If the player did not draw a third card (i.e. had a 6 or higher), then the banker draws a card only if its first two cards total less than 5. Otherwise, the banker stands.
If the player did draw a third card, then the banker plays as follows:
When the banker’s first two cards equal
the banker draws if the player’s third card is:
3 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10
4 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
5 4, 5, 6, 7
6 6, 7
When the banker’s first two cards equal… …the banker will:
2 or less Always draw
7, 8, or 9 Always stand
Wins, Losses, and Ties
The hand closest to nine always wins. If there is a natural, it is an automatic winner, and no further cards are drawn.
Banker and player bets pay even money when you win. A winning banker bet, however, is subject to a 5% house commission. So if you made a $5 banker bet and won, you would receive $5.00 minus 5% ($0.25), which would actually be $4.75. If the two hands tie, neither bet wins nor loses any money. If you made a tie bet, however, you would receive an 8:1 payoff.
Although banker bets must pay a 5% commission when won, they are still good bets to make since banker hands actually win more frequently than player hands. All things considered, the banker and player bets give you about the same odds. In both cases, the house edge is quite small – in fact, it is only 1.17% on banker bets, and a 1.36% on player bets. From a statistical standpoint, you are slightly better off wagering on the banker, albeit not by much.